Kurt Angle Says Vince McMahon Insisted On Baron Corbin As WWE WrestleMania 35 Opponent
It wasn't the final match he wanted...
Fans were a bit mystified when Kurt Angle's final match ever (as it stands now) came against Baron Corbin at WrestleMania 35, with Corbin going over.
Angle shed a little light on the selection of Corbin during an interview with Denise Salcedo for Instinct Culture, saying that while he wanted to work with John Cena, Vince McMahon was insistent on Corbin.
"Vince McMahon told me that I had a program with Baron Corbin, and I told him that I wanted to retire at WrestleMania," Angle recalls. "And he said 'Well, you're going to wrestle Baron Corbin because you had a program with him for the last seven months.'
"I said, 'Vince, I want to retire. Baron is a great talent but he's an upcoming talent, how about John Cena?' He said, 'If you want John Cena, next year you got him. But this year, you get Baron' I said, 'Vince, I am not going next year. I am done. This is it.' He said, 'Well, you're stuck with this.'"
He adds, "I respect it. I understood why, because they had spent a lot of time building up Baron Corbin and we had to have a match. If I wanted to continue for another year, I could have got Cena. But I didn't want to go a whole other year. I knew I was done."
Angle also believes McMahon was holding off as much as possible on allowing him to wrestle during his final run, saying, "Vince McMahon wanted me inducted into the Hall of Fame and I told him, 'Well, I am not done wrestling' and he said, 'That's okay' And I said, 'Well, you know eventually I would like to wrestle,' and he said 'We'll get there.'
"So, after the Hall of Fame, that night, after I had my speech, Vince McMahon came up to me and said, 'You're going to be the GM of Raw starting tomorrow.' And I was like 'Well, I still wanna wrestle,' he said, 'We'll get you there.' So, I think he did everything he could to kind of push that off."
He then adds that when he did finally step back into the ring, the layoff contributed to his diminished performances.
"When it was time for me to wrestle, I was doing the GM job for a year and a half; I was inactive, not bumping, not wrestling." Angle said. "My body started getting arthritic, my neck tightened up, my back, my knees. Before I knew it, I got in the ring and I looked like an old man wrestling.
"And I knew that even though the company wanted me to continue to wrestle, I didn't feel right about it for a couple reasons. One, I wanted to come back and have the title run, that wasn't going to happen."
(Credit to Wrestling Inc for transcription)